WWI: Threatening letters

Crown Prince Alexander, later King of YugoslaviaOn Thursday 9th July, Nikola Pašić, Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister for Foreign Affairs, wrote a letter sent to all the Serbian legations:

The Crown Prince Alexander is receiving threatening letters from Austria-Hungary nearly every day. Make use of this in course of conversation with your colleagues and journalists.

The Crown Prince Alexander is Alexander Karađorđević, then 25 years old, the second son and fourth child of Petar Karađorđević (the heir of the former prince of Serbia who had abdicated in 1858) and Princess Zorka of Montenegro.

Alexander’s older brother George had abdicated under strong pressure from Nikola Pašić and other Serbian ministers, who believed him to be unfit to be king.

Meanwhile in the House of Commons, Major George Howden, elected in May 1914 as the Conservative MP for East Derbyshire, asked the Secretary of State for War

if he is aware that many Territorial commanding officers are bound, on completion of their term of command, either to retire or go on the Territorial Force Reserve before having had an opportunity of completing their twenty years’ service on the active list, and that no officer is placed on the unattached list or can be appointed to the Territorial Force Reserve unless certified as being efficient and fully qualified for his substantive rank, and that under such service officers are subject to military law and liable for active service in the same degree as officers on the Territorial Force active list; and will he consider the desirability of amending the regulations so as to enable such officers to count service on the unattached list and the Territorial Force Reserve as qualifying service for the Territorial Force decoration?

Harold Tennnant, the Under-secretary of State for War, answered:

If the honourable and gallant Member has any particular case of hardship in mind, perhaps he will furnish me with the particulars and I will look into them. It would, however, be unfair to officers on the active list that service on the unattached list or in the Territorial Reserve, which involves no duty, should count upon the same footing. Moreover, I am not aware that cases frequently arise of officers reaching the end of the eight years’ tenure contemplated by the Regulations without having completed twenty years’ service.

Major George Howden asked again:

Does the right honourable Gentleman realise that this is indeed a grievance, and it will go a long way to make the force more popular than it is to-day if that could be done and officers could have the Territorial decoration for that service

This question seems to have gone unanswered.

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